Snowzilla is coming

You’ve probably heard the forecasts already, watch it advance on radar below:

Animate this image: >>>

Look at all of the warnings below, the red area from Oklahoma to Lake Michigan is Blizzard Warning while the pink is Winter Storm Warning:

click map for the latest warnings

The synoptic map shows freezing rain ahead of the system, followed by heavy snow. It’s the worst sort of situation.

The NAM snow depth model output for the next 48 hours shows a wide swath of 12-24″ of snow accumulation from near Dallas to Chicago with even more near NYC and BOS.

The plan: stock up and stay home, and make sure you have a backup plan for heat if the power goes out.

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84 thoughts on “Snowzilla is coming

  1. I’ll say it before those helpful people sent across the web to help with our climate change communication skills say it: ” It’s unprecedented!!!”

  2. Esteemed and learned peers of the WUWT Community. I apologise for ram raiding this post, moderators feel free to guide me back to Tips and Tricks if necessary, but the day I was dreading has finally arrived.
    My 8 yr old daughter in Primary 4 has returned from her UK Primary school with her latest Oxford University Press Gospel According to Warmists named “The Power of Nature” (ISBN 0-19-919884-5)
    It describes the power of the Sun, and that of our own planet’s Wind and Water cycles. But and it’s a big but, contains the dreaded “climate change” invocation on Page 2 and I quote:
    “We need to make the most [of these resources], and also to avoid worsening problems of pollution and climate change which we have already set in motion”
    It goes on to describe, aftet the initial “hit” of climate change propaganda, various methods that are employed to generate energy, all described perfectly acceptably. Once we get to Page 20/21 we, the parent, are guided that “there are some statements that try and persuade us to be for or against wind farms. Ask your child which words are opinions rather than facts. Which side presents the best arguments”
    I won’t type verbatim the three pro and con arguments but to give you all a taster, the last FOR argument goes: “Wind farms could be built in the sea too. Because there is so much sea around Britain, offshore wind power could meet twice the UK’s total energy needs”
    My feet, as a classical geologist, are firmly in the “it’s natural variation, stoopid” climate camp.
    My request, gentle readers, from both sides of the fence, as a balanced scientist should, is how to frame the approach for my daughter. I have already asked her to get as many of the facts as she can and make her own mind up and not to take anyone’s word for it. I plan to write to the school and indicate my displeasure in the unbalanced approach taken by the literature, but that’s going to be like (snipping) in the wind.
    Your help would be appreciated. AJE

  3. Helped out in no small manner by those very tall and long fronts.
    Now, where did I hear about Meridonial Flow vs Latitudinal Flow?

  4. Just got to my hotel in Fredrick MD. 24 degrees and freezing rain.
    REPLY: Enjoy your extended stay there. ;P
    Anthony

  5. Judging from the radar the snow might be a little further west and south than predicted… If this is the case… Well, this will be a real humdinger of a storm…
    On a more local note, it is snowing HARD where I live at 10:00pm. The forecast is for 2″ to 5″ by morning. There is allready 4″ of globull warming on my driveway…

  6. Look at all of the warnings below, the red area from Oklahoma to Lake Michigan is Blozzard Warning while the pink is Winter Storm Warning:
    Shouldn’t that be “Blizzard”?

  7. ge0050 says:
    January 31, 2011 at 10:09 pm
    That isn’t snow. It is Trenberth’s missing heat.

    You got it, and right now it’s hard heat tick ticking away at my windows.
    Good question to ask right now, is all of that howling wind from heat or could it be simply the condensation you see in the graphics above? Maybe Anastassia will chime in. I learned much from Dr. Makarieva’s paper and discussion. I now think condensation, at least the majority of it. But it all ends up pressure from both of them in the end.

  8. being in the bright red target zone in MA, I really regret that haven’t moved south.
    We have about 24 on the ground, and another 20 coming. 🙁

  9. Quote ‘offshore wind power could meet twice the UK’s total energy needs”’ Just how many bird processors will be required for this to be effective? This winters 60% probability of mild or average temperatures demonstrated that the UK’s energy needs could be met by French nuclear power.
    I guess the Chinese would be happy though with their rare earth processing facilities, until they are dead that is.

  10. As someone at the epicenter (central Illinois) of all this, I plan to be up all night tomorrow keeping the snow off of the driveway. Latest projections are for 12 – 18″. I keep hoping the models are wrong, but the Jan 1-3, 1999 storm was forecasted and held up very well. Wish me luck.

  11. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground has a nice little write up on his blog about this blizzard saying it’s potentially of “historic” proportions. By the time it’s over he estimates that 100 million people may have been impacted.
    Yep, it’s worse than we thought! 😉

  12. David Ball says: January 31, 2011 at 10:44 pm
    “I’ll say it before those helpful people sent across the web to help with our climate change communication skills say it: ” It’s unprecedented!!!””
    That’s the difference between 1/f type noise as we have in the global temperature signal and normal noise. In normal noise, “unprecedented” means: “wow that’s really unusual”, whereas on 1/f type noise to get a “never been seen before” event is well … pretty typical!

  13. Must have something to do with the fact it’s still winter.
    Just in time for Groundhog Day. Don’t be suprised if Punxsutawney Phil gets a look at all that snow and slams the door to his burrow after telling those silly humans, “Six weeks? Fergit it — you’ve ten more weeks of winter coming and count yourselves lucky. Now let me get back to my nap, fools!!”

  14. @Alea Jacta Est.
    The UK State Educational System is possibly the last Stalinist construct still extant in Europe. Root and Branch reform will not happen in my lifetime, nor probably in yours either. All I can suggest is that you mortgage the rest of your life to provide your daughter with private schooling to Uni. level then send her Stateside.

  15. “Wind farms could be built in the sea too. Because there is so much sea around Britain, offshore wind power could meet twice the UK’s total energy needs”
    That’s an easy one. That is a (spurious) opinion. No amount of wind power can ever meet the UK:s total energy needs since it only works when the wind blows. You might exemplify by using graphics this site (click “Översikt” on the left):
    http://www.vindstat.nu/
    It shows Swedish wind power production during the last 30 days. Remember that Sweden is a great deal larger than the UK, and stretches approximately between the latitudes of Newcastle and Nuuk (the capitol of Greenland), so you would expect more variability for the UK. And, yes, we have offshore Wind Farms too.

  16. Geoff Sharp says:
    January 31, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    heh,heh … he said undulating.
    Well, the good news is that with Erie frozen over, some of the lake effect is going to be tamed when the cold wind comes in behind it.

  17. AleaJactaEst says:
    January 31, 2011 at 10:57 pm
    Not sure I have a clear solution however I can only offer what I went through in a similar vein.
    My daughter in grade 9 (Canada) was being taught that Greenland’s populations/settlements was just a push from their motherlands for the ‘sake of ‘propaganda’! Floored me for a sec. so then we had a frank discussion and luckily enough she thought it through with comparisons to what I was taught, what her father was taught, (aunts and uncles) and with what the GWarmers were pushing hard without facts, I had a bit of ammo, so she could see for herself, you’re daughter maybe too young for this I don’t know.
    My daughter was surprised to find out I was taught that we were heading into a ice age during the 1970’s; some twenty years on and it’s the warming scare for her.
    They didn’t ding her too hard, although she had to endure the ‘SO and SO has an alternative views’ when the class was discussing it further for that topic – but she held her own and her marks didn’t seem unduly harsh for that unit either, thankfully. She’s a healthy skeptic and realist today and handles the nonsense thrown her way in and out of classes.
    For such a young student such as your daughter, I have no specific advise except that always tell her the truth in these matters – you’ll never lose her trust that way, as you’ll always be there for her as her father, her grade teachers will not.
    You’ll know best how to present or frame it for her – as only you know her best. Leaving too much up for her to decide may only frustrate her, but by telling her the facts of when you were taught ‘such and such’ and it turned out to be incorrect may help with teaching your points to her without pitting her against the teacher’s mandate that must be abided by as well I assume. Bit of a tightrope balance there, but the nice thing about this age is they still believe you the parent over all others and the truth will always prevail. This propaganda push to such young ones is unsettling to put it politely. All the best with this.


  18. Forecast snowfalls are the heaviest in Oklahoma, but I think the blizzard will be moving sufficiently fast that Chicago will not see as bad as previously expected/wishcasted.
    Check out the chance for snow/ice/frozen precip in Louisiana!

  19. Dennis Wingo says:
    “Just got to my hotel in Fredrick MD. 24 degrees and freezing rain.”
    So? In most of the world 24 degrees Celcius is very comfortable.
    Most of the world uses Celcius. Scientists and engineers in the US should be using Celcius. Climate discussions should be scientific.
    WUWT is an international site. Can we please adopt the convention that if people MUST use the Fahrenheit scale, they should state F or Fahrenheit? If the scale is not mentioned I will assume Celcius.
    REPLY: Don’t make me pull Kelvin on both of ya’ – Anthony

  20. And to think just last Friday I was able to play nine holes of golf! Tuesday morning at dawn it’s expected to be around 28 degrees, with wind chills in the low teens if not lower.
    I wouldn’t mind a little CO2 type of warming at the moment. It’s sooooooo cold!!!!

  21. jaymam says: Most of the world uses Celcius. Scientists and engineers in the US should be using Celcius. Climate discussions should be scientific.
    Um, so can I safely assume that you ONLY ever state time in units of seconds? After all, the hour, minute, and day are NOT S.I. units….

    REPLY: Don’t make me pull Kelvin on both of ya’ – Anthony

    Oh, common… you could at least use Rankine… 😉
    BTW, also remember that the Meter was mis-measured and is NOT a proper fraction of the earth circumferance… so it didn’t meet it’s first stated goal. That makes it an arbitrary and slightly irrational unit. Now, if we were to use a length based on a physical property like, oh, a pendulum, we could get some rational units:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/unifying-the-cubits-the-yard-and-the-rod/
    (Sidebar for those thinking of blowing an S.I. gasket: I’m ‘multilingual’ and work equally well in K, R, C, or F along with Rods, feet, meters, miles, knots, and even barleycorns and Imperial Gallons… Units are all rather arbitrary things and they all work. Besides, those metric things are just Sooo archaic… from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Mesopotamian_units_of_measurement
    (yeah, it’s a wiki, but this is all just in good fun…)

    Although not directly derived from it, there is a 1:2 proportional relationship between SI and Sumerian metrology. SI inherited the convention of the second as 1/86,400th of a solar day from Sumer thus, two Sumerian seconds are approximately one SI second. Moreover, because both systems use a seconds pendulum to create a unit of length, a meter is approximately two kuš3, a liter 2 sila3, and a kilogram is 2 ma-na.

    Yes, it glosses over that the PROPOSAL to use the second pendulum was ditched for the botched arc survey, but the units are actually pretty close and the old Mesopotamian units do end up remarkably like the S.I. units… And it is fun to ask folks why they want to use a set of units that are 4000 years old 😉

  22. Big deal. People have such short memories. Here in Toronto we are forecast to get 30 cm., and it used to be (pre-1991, say) to get one or two snowstorms of this magnitude every winter.
    I shopped today for extra bacon and sausage and bread and made sure the ice chipper and salt were by the front door. Feel free to neglect to call in the Army, I think we’ll cope.

  23. Oh, and it was a very pleasant and sunny day today out here in Kalifornia. I spent some shirtsleve only time in the sun and garden. That’s the good news. That bad news is that it had been cold, overcast, and raining for weeks on end before now.
    Seems ever year we get a couple of weeks of ‘false spring’ in January. Then the bad stuff returns… Oh, and every time it’s really a frozen wonderland “back east”, we get a nice day… So forgive me if I’m just a tiny bit happy it’s snowing back there and not drenching rain out here…

  24. Our local meterologists have called it right so far. They called for 0.1-.25″ overnight accumulation of ice from freezing rain. I just got in from salting the drive and it was right in the middle of their range.
    It’s supposed to warm up to all rain for the best part of the day and then the temps drop. I can handle a change to snow but they are forecasting that it will go back to freezing rain before the snow.
    Ice under snow really sucks.

  25. Pat Frank says:
    January 31, 2011 at 10:19 pm
    It is NOT a coincidence. This is a preview of the weather changes.
    But no one listens to that one lone voice with a massive amount of research and knowledge.

  26. E.M.Smith:
    “That bad news is that it had been cold, overcast, and raining for weeks on end before now.”
    Bah.. I was in LA from the 10th to the 17th and the weather was perfect! Mind you, I’m sure glad I wasn’t there the week before 😉

  27. AleaJactaEst, what you should do is send her to the UK site which records how much power the existing turbines are putting out.
    http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp.php
    This is with, from memory, around 3,000 turbines, and they generate anything from a fraction of a percent to about 2 percent of our consumption.
    OK, if the claim is that we could generate double our consumption, how many turbines would that take? 100 times as many as we have now, if we will settle for a 1% threshold? That would be 300,000. Now ask, where are they going to go? You put them offshore, how are you going to service them? You put them on every hilltop, there is still not enough space for them.
    And then the question to ask is what happens during a winter cold spell as in December? In December there were several days when they did not contribute 2% or 1%, but rather 0.1% of our power consumption. So, you seriously think you can build enough turbines to deliver double our consumption, how many would that be if the usual cold winter high pressure periods?
    And if you have to have total backup for them to cover those periods, how much does that cost?
    The other question I would ask is about fuel poverty. The current UK feedin tariffs are paying around 10 times the wholesale price for people to generate small scale amounts of power. So what happens to the UK if we end up paying these prices for power on any scale? Economic disaster and fuel poverty is what happens. Which is why French, Germans and Spanish are hacking their feedin tariffs to bits as we speak, retrospectively by the way in the case of Spain.
    Get hold of ‘Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air’. Its available from Amazon, or downloadable as a free pdf. There is a chapter on wind. The author is a ‘strictly the facts’ guy, and he covers such things as how far apart windmills have to go, how much space they take up, intermittency and so on.
    It is really simply ridiculous to be teaching children the stuff you quote.

  28. Sorry, if 3000 generate 1% reliably (which they do not) then to do double our requirements we would of course need 600,000 of the things! How long has it taken to install Sheringham Shoal? And that is only 88 turbines.
    Why is it that when it comes to climate and windpower, people totally lose their critical faculties? You just cannot get there from here. Any more than we could run our existing structure, malls, suburbs, trucking, commuting, on horseback.

  29. AleaJactaEst says:
    January 31, 2011 at 10:57 pm
    I envy you. Here in the dear old USA, neither teachers nor books encourage students to ask questions and make up their own minds about climate change. I dare not question orthodoxy for fear of causing harm to my child. Of course, here in the USA, another factor comes into play and that is that students do not take their teachers seriously. “It’s in one ear and out the other,” as the old folks say.
    It seems to me that traditional English culture remains healthy “underneath,” so to speak. I don’t think that you suffer under the weight of Political Correctness as we do. For example, one of the pleasures of reading Montford’s blog is reading the street language. A popular phrase at this time is “stitched up” or “It was a stitch up.” Apparently that is what the BBC just did to Monckton. Here in the USA, if one uses slang then one is immediately suspicious and must be tested on all points of diversity, inclusiveness, tree-huggingness, you name it.

  30. Pre-storm note from New Hampshire:
    My wife is off to New Mexico a day early. Pity about losing the early booking low fare. The dog is unhappy that one of her humans left.
    I have both snowboards out and a 4′ yard stick next to the 2′ snow stake that, at 18″, will be completely buried tomorrow.
    Cars positioned to make it easier for the (new) snow blower.
    Space to put the snow.
    An employer that lets me work from home.
    I’m ready. The dog, however, is going to be more unhappy – the current snow cover is deeper than she is tall….
    One reason I live in New Hampshire is because I like snow storms. Yay!

  31. Fahrenheit and Celsius are a bit like languages. When in the US, speak Yankee. When in France speak French. When on the Internet speak whatever language you want. Jayman should simply apply a bit of common sense in his interpretations of informal online commentary originating from a US blog.
    Personally, being Australian I use Celsius. But Fahrenheit units are roughly half the size of Celsius. So when you get towards the human end of temperature sensations, Fahrenheit is actually more precise, if only in an idiomatic way. The difference between, say, 21c and 25c is far less nuanced than the gradation between 69f and 77f.
    Temperature sensations are a bit like scents. They can trigger past memories…Of exactly where you were the last time the air rang like crystal yet the snow swallowed all sounds whole. I still remember being ten years old in a Catskill Mountain winter. It was Fahrenheit all the way down then.
    Demanding that everyone speak one language, is well, dumb.
    Wakarimasuka?

  32. AleaJactaEst
    The following NETA site gives the fuel types which provide electricity for the UK as well as total daily production. Wind installed capacity is said to be 4.2 GW. Interestig reading for Dec.- Jan. particularly when you look at the interconnectors from France and Ireland.
    http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/~dcurtis/NETA.html
    Hope that is useful in demonstrating the futility of relying on wind, not to mention cost and back-up requirements.

  33. E.M.Smith says:
    February 1, 2011 at 2:21 am
    Yep. The wet stuff returns mid February. It was biting cold on the hands today until the sun finally popped out of the mountain fog at 2pm.
    The Sierras are due for thier 10-year Easter Surprise.

  34. Like Ric Werme, I’m here in New Hampshire in the bullseye of snowzilla (one of those red patches on Ryan Maue’s map). My carbon belching snowblower is ready to go, and I wisely stocked up on 100 40 lb bags of pellets for my carbon belching pellet stove, so I’m all set. They’re calling for anywhere from 16″ – 24″ once this is all over on Thursday. Snow day tomorrow for the kids for sure, and I’ll probably work from home.
    I’d post one of those ridiculous CAGW scare stories from the recent past on how the New England skiing industry was going to be devastated due to lack of snow because of global warming climate change climate disruption, but I think everyone gets the point by now…don’t mess with Mother Nature!

  35. As of last night they were predicting an awful storm around here, prompting 500 school districts in three states to delay or cancel school. I know it’s getting pretty bad north and east of us, but I walked outside this morning and thought, “They delayed school for this??” If I were the superintendents, I’d be pretty angry. You expect your weather reports to be accurate so you can make a decision in the best interests of your students. As a parent, I’m mighty angry, because these delays wreak havoc on my entire day. Now, if there’s six inches of snow, that’s one thing. But when it’s a dusting or because it’s 10 degrees, I mind. I blame the media; they hype up every little storm so that we’re terrified to drive in an inch of snow, and schools don’t want to be liable if something happens so they delay or cancel over every little thing. This is PA, folks, and guess what? It snows. A lot. And it gets cold. Really cold. We act like we’ve never seen snow before. Sheesh.

  36. ew-3 at 11:21 pm:
    “red target zone in MA, … We have about 24 on the ground, and another 20 coming. :(”
    I used to live in the Boston burbs, and for a couple years the lawn would disappear under snow in October and reappear in March. In New Hampshire, I recall the snow being piled up as much as 4 to 6 feet around many parking lots and driveways. Now we’re getting that below the Mason-Dixon line.

  37. The storm is in Oklahoma, and already a layer of freezing rain on the roads here in western MD, 1200 miles away.
    And before the warmunists start w/the “warm oceans = snow” crud, the Gulf of Mexico & SE coast waters where the moisture comes from is well below avg in temp.

  38. To the above BBC page, one advantage of “age” relative to “youth” is now occurring. Living north of St. Louis in west central Illinois, I do remember large snow storms and winters such as this one in the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Hum, cold PDO. My granddad talked about heavy snow in his youth, he was born in 1901. Hum, cold PDO, low solar cycle. In the central U.S. we are indeed seeing weather. As for changing climate, speaking as a geologist, the only constant in climate is change.

  39. jaymam says:
    February 1, 2011 at 12:47 am
    Dennis Wingo says:
    “Just got to my hotel in Fredrick MD. 24 degrees and freezing rain.”
    ‘So? In most of the world 24 degrees Celcius is very comfortable.
    Most of the world uses Celcius. Scientists and engineers in the US should be using Celcius.’ (sic)
    Most of us, laymen yet, are equally comfortable with both measures. Belief that one is “unscientific” seems to me to be an unscientific position in itself. Personally I still prefer the “Centigrade” that I was taught at school, to the irritating “Celsius”. If they had more appropriately called it Linnaeus instead of honouring the man who got it diametrically wrong, I would have been more comfortable with that.

  40. Leon Brozyna says:
    January 31, 2011 at 11:46 pm
    Must have something to do with the fact it’s still winter.
    Just in time for Groundhog Day. Don’t be suprised if Punxsutawney Phil gets a look at all that snow and slams the door to his burrow after telling those silly humans, “Six weeks? Fergit it — you’ve ten more weeks of winter coming and count yourselves lucky. Now let me get back to my nap, fools!!”

    Actually, Punxsutawney Phil is busy in his secret underground climate lab running GCM simulations. He will provide his much anticipated climate forecast product for us tomorrow.

  41. Just outside of OKC, I don’t know how anyone can reliably measure snow depth. The wind has be blowing at 20+ mph all night with gusts up to 45, maybe 50 mph. Parts of my yard still have grass showing, while I can see several drifts that are at least 2 feet deep. What I do know is that we will have the lowest temps in 15 years and will be close to the record low February temperature of -3 F (-19 C), which means as unique and interesting as this storm has been, there have been several like it before and will be again.

  42. Re: Groundhog Day
    I’m sure I speak for most of New Jersey, if not the entire north-east, when I say…
    Ugh.
    Folklore has it that if the goundhog emerges from his burrow on February 2nd and sees his shadow he runs back inside and we get six more weeks of winter. What does folklore say happens if he can’t get out of his burrow because it’s covered in three feet of compacted snow and ice?
    Curious in New Jersey.

  43. Ice will be the story here. We got .25″+ ice last night. Another .5″ to 1″+ forecast for later today. Winds to pick up to 40mph on Wednesday so limbs/wires will be falling.
    If we get that much ice, then this will be one of those widespread power outages where millions go without power for several days.
    To make matters worse, high temps are to remain below freezing for several days so the ice is here to stay.

  44. Full tank of oil, full generator, full snowblower, many tons of pellets, extra gas, a siphon, a full gas tank on the car, plenty of food and water, and most important of all lots of TP.
    I think I’m somewhat ready.

  45. All of Northern Indiana has been upgraded to blizzard warnings beginning at 1:00PM today. The forecase is for 12-18 inches with 40mph winds, which are expected to produce 4-8ft drifts. My 40 mile commute home this PM should be interesting.

  46. -41 Celsius with the windchill here right now and all hysterically coming on the heels of environment Canada’s long range forecast of an early end to winter due to AGW. I don’t know how it is in America but here in the windchill swept Canadian prairies, we’ve been just tuning them out altogether since the Church of Climatology’s predictive swing-and-a-miss 1,000,000 ended up overlooking flooding events surpassing even those found in First Nation’s oral histories.

  47. @Beng: There are two storms, one small and way out in front and the “Stormzilla” back around Oklahoma. We (I’m in the Frederick, MD area) just got the ice from the front storm. The big one is coming, but the track looks like it might just slide north of us and the DC area. Time will tell.

  48. My low temp last night here on the west side of Denver was -14 eg F. It is currently a balmy -8 deg F, clear and sunny.
    Here locally many of the school districts closed down for the day because it was going to be too cold to let the little kiddies out in the weather. In the 1960’s we had low temps well into the -20’s and they never closed the schools for cold and many of us walked over a mile to school every day.
    Our society is getting so risk averse it is getting silly.
    My bet is a lot of these kids who were too fragile to go to school in sub zero weather will be out playing in it much of the day.
    At least it is cold enough that in the mountains (if the cold air pool is deep enough) the cold might put a crimp on the western pine beetle population.
    Note to the weather illiterate, cold is essential to our ecosystem, it controls pests, and is necessary for many seeds to germinate.
    Oh by the way, properly dressed kids have no problem playing or walking to school in -20 deg F temps. When it gets below -30 deg F then maybe a school closure is in order, or at least limited outside play time at recess, and supervised waits for the school buses, and teachers checking the kids are properly dressed when they leave to go home.
    Larry

  49. To continue with E.M. Smith’s diatribe on measurements, I personally subscribe to the FFF Measurement System. FFF units are Furlong/Firkin/Fortnight, which have the SI values of 201.168 m/40.8233 kg/1209600 s. In English units that would be 660 ft/90 lb/14 days. I suppose that degrees Fahrenheit would fit well with these units, but I prefer degrees Newton as belonging to archaic measurement systems.
    I think that measurement systems should be on the basis of normal units from our daily life, so I do support the notion (often used in popular news-writing) of using the size of a football field as a normal area unit. If you start looking, and listening, you will notice this unit being used all of the time. It has never been documented as to which size of football field this refers to, as football fields are somewhat different depending on which country you are in. But a Football Field as a unit would fit in with the FFF units, and is actually about 0.13 square furlongs (or approximately 1/8 square furlongs).

  50. Damage Inc. says:
    February 1, 2011 at 6:54 am
    Just outside of OKC, I don’t know how anyone can reliably measure snow depth. The wind has be blowing at 20+ mph all night with gusts up to 45, maybe 50 mph. Parts of my yard still have grass showing, while I can see several drifts that are at least 2 feet deep. What I do know is that we will have the lowest temps in 15 years and will be close to the record low February temperature of -3 F (-19 C), which means as unique and interesting as this storm has been, there have been several like it before and will be again.
    ___________________
    Not much has changed in OKC since you wrote that, except that there aren’t any clear spots, now. I’ve no idea how much snow we’ve received, since the howling winds keep shuffling what we have. I’ve seen a couple of wind- driven white-outs from my office window.
    I didn’t know that birds shivered, but was watching a Eurasian collared dove that sure was shivering- his tail was vibrating for as long as he sat in view with his feathers all fluffed and waiting for the wind to knock some morsel out of the feeder, which he is too big to access.

  51. A little background on “Thundersnow”.
    During the 1980’s I lived about 12 miles from Offet AFB in Omaha. Cold war at its peak. I had geiger counters, supplies, “stuff” in my “survival basement” I had a copy of Glasstone’s “Effects of Nuclear Weapons”.
    I’m a single guy. One night, about 3AM, there was a BRIGHT FLASH which illuminated the whole house. “THIS IS IT!” I said. I grabbed stuff, flashlites and went to the basement, waiting for the pressure wave.
    Well the pressure wave hit, and it seemed MARKEDLY like a thunderclap.
    There were then SEVERAL FLASHES and more thunderclaps.
    Looking outside, a pellet type snow began to come down. (About 5″ all totaled!) I went back to bed. SO much for Detant, the cold war, SAC, etc. I needed to sleep.
    Having lived in MN most of my life, I’d NEVER seen lightning and heard thunder during the winter. New thing. But common in the real “great plains belt” states.
    Max

  52. A Facebook friend referred to Snowverflow, a good term for people and cities without space to dump new snow.
    —–
    Janice says:
    February 1, 2011 at 9:43 am

    To continue with E.M. Smith’s diatribe on measurements, I personally subscribe to the FFF Measurement System. FFF units are Furlong/Firkin/Fortnight, which have the SI values of 201.168 m/40.8233 kg/1209600 s. In English units that would be 660 ft/90 lb/14 days.

    I think that measurement systems should be on the basis of normal units from our daily life, so I do support the notion (often used in popular news-writing) of using the size of a football field as a normal area unit.

    And Olympic swimming pool for volume, I hope.
    When I was at Carnegie-Mellon Univ, the subject of appoximate measurements came up and we concluded that the “melon” would make a good universal unit to measure almost anything with a 1 1/2 digit accuracy. (That half digit is what’s referred to on things like voltmeters that display from 0.001 to 1.999V – those are referred to as 3 1/2 digit displays. That half digit means a factor of 2, the log of which is 0.3, so that display could be a 3.3 digit display….
    Pick a cantaloupe, any cantaloupe. Or honeydew. or other melon (except maybe a big watermelon). Use that as the standard for length, area, volume, and mass. For each of those, your fruit is 1 melon long and weighs 1 melon. So is mine, well, okay, it’s pretty close. You could probably work in time and temperature too. (Think of temperature – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a melon that was frozen or one too hot to pick up.)

  53. AleaJactaEst says:
    “My request, gentle readers, from both sides of the fence, as a balanced scientist should, is how to frame the approach for my daughter. I have already asked her to get as many of the facts as she can and make her own mind up and not to take anyone’s word for it. I plan to write to the school and indicate my displeasure in the unbalanced approach taken by the literature, but that’s going to be like (snipping) in the wind.”
    Dear “die is cast”,
    My son experienced similar propaganda in high school. The problem is that if the kids don’t regurgitate back to the teacher what they are fed they get lower grades and or social pressure. My boy bought a lot of the BS until he got to engineering school where he became one of the most critical students re AGW, but not always in an outspoken manner due to the need to pass courses,
    It will get worse before it gets better. Best to try to explain to your child why people take the positions that they do and that it is not always based upon facts or even science.
    Until we make it “profitable” to be a science skeptic, it will never change. This has been going on for a very long time due to the teaching “profession” being so influenced by their union and left wing politics. The die is, indeed, cast and it is difficult to pull it back.

  54. Feb. 1, 2011, in St. Louis. Light freezing rain fell overnight, under ¼ inch accumulation, sleet began around dawn, only about ½ inch of sleet up to now at 1:15 p.m. Snow is supposed to start any time (actually it was supposed to start around 10 a.m.), but it sounds like the meteorologist are toning the totals down a bit. Over the last two days, the forecasts have been up to five inches, up to eight inches, blizzard white-out conditions with 18 to 24 inches, and now back down to up to five inches. As for now, there is not enough to take out the snow blower, but who knows what might still come?

  55. That must really be some fence on the Mexican border, it stops practically everything that moves!
    I wasn’t aware that there was one on the Canadian border also, is that one of those so called “black projects”?

  56. As a somewhat irregular visitor I don’t get to read all of the posts or comments, but I see Joe Lalonde popping up here and at Judith Curry. Now I’m curious.
    Joe, I’ve seen your comments re sea salt and changes since 1940, but that’s all I’ve seen. Do you have a website with more detailed information anywhere? Have you had a post on WUWT explaining your theory?

  57. jaymam says:
    February 1, 2011 at 12:47 am
    Wow, it’s snowing in MD at 24 C, it’s definitely worse then we thought. Thought Al lived in TN : )

  58. Jim G says:
    February 1, 2011 at 11:05 am
    “My boy bought a lot of the BS until he got to engineering school where he became one of the most critical students re AGW, but not always in an outspoken manner due to the need to pass courses, …”
    I retired from the Navy prior to going to university for my engineering degree. So I was not reluctant to have a say on things. I had a “discussion” with my heat transfer prof when he stated that Reagan was at fault for the schuttle that exploded after lift off. He claimed Reagan ordered the lift off so he could get a teacher in space, but when asked for proof had none. Then just to top it off I wrote a term paper for heat transfer on global warming.
    I was flying off the Flordia coast in a warning area just north of the Cape when the accident happened and our plane volunteered to be search and rescue within minutes. So this event is etched in my mind forever.

  59. The Pentagon’s secret earthquake-hurricane system has blown a fuse. After a swipe at Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan, the backblast is striking home from U.S. Midwest to New England. Met Office forecast for the colonies: Sunny and dry, with off-chance of Climate Hysterics biting dust.

  60. Janice says:
    February 1, 2011 at 9:43 am
    I thought a firkin was a barrel of beer measured in pints. I can’t remember if it was 72 pints or not. Seems I drank a few firkins of Adnams ale. Its the one thing I miss living in france. The beers so bad here that the youngsters in our village drink it with syrup (flavoured at that)

  61. michel says:
    February 1, 2011 at 4:00 am
    OK, if the claim is that we could generate double our consumption, how many turbines would that take? 100 times as many as we have now, if we will settle for a 1% threshold? That would be 300,000. Now ask, where are they going to go? You put them offshore, how are you going to service them? You put them on every hilltop, there is still not enough space for them.

    The most serious problem with wind turbines is infrasonic pollution. This problem is not recognized by industry and infrasounds being inaudible, their environmental levels are not regulated either.
    Typical noise spectrum of a wind turbine has an incredibly steep (for a mechanical system, that is) 9 dB/octave slope (1/f^3 noise). Levels just keep increasing toward ever lower frequencies with no low frequency cutoff in sight even at 1 Hz. Below this frequency you can’t measure noise levels with microphones (not even with high quality lab microphones). In this frequency range you’d need a microbarometer.
    Sounds below about 20 Hz are “inaudible” in the sense they do not create an auditory sensation (they are not identified by the auditory system as “sound”). However, it does not mean they’re imperceptible.
    In the Cochlea (inner ear) there are two types of hair cells. The so called inner hair cells do the auditory transduction. They convert mechanical vibration into corresponding electric potential fluctuations at their cell membrane (so called microphone potential), which is picked up by special neurons attached to them and is converted to action potential spike trains to be transmitted by the auditory nerve to the brain. These cells are not sensitive to infrasound.
    But there is another set of cells in the organ of Corti called outer hair cells. They are about three times more numerous than their cousins specialized in transduction. Their role is to provide active tuning, that is, they can selectively amplify the mechanical signal at the basilar membrane in pretty narrow frequency bands (using chemical energy of course). For example ear ringing (tinnitus) is not just an imaginary process, the actual sound can be picked up by a tiny electret microphone inserted into the ear canal. In this case outer hair cells simply go to overdrive for some reason. It can even happen without the person whose ear is ringing being able to hear it (if the inner hair cells responsible for that specific frequency range are damaged).
    Now, these cells are sensitive to frequencies much lower than the lower bound of hearing, that is, they’re influenced by infrasounds. The selective amplification they provide under normal circumstances being essential to proper hearing, this function is seriously disturbed by infrasonic pollution. The net result is some incredibly inconvenient feeling, similar to one has after a deafening explosion, but it just keeps going on and on and on. It can really drive people nuts, especially if they are unaware of what is being done to them.
    An additional problem is there’s no any practical way to attenuate such low frequencies. Wavelenght of this “sound” is so large (at 1 Hz it is 340 m – more than a thousand feet), that no structure can stop it. Waves pretty much ignore obstacles substantially smaller than their wavelength. An airtight and perfectly rigid box can keep them out, but houses are just not like that (and if they were, people would suffocate inside). Also, with a temperature inversion, which can happen even with winds blowing at higher altitudes (where these new monster windmills operate), sound energy tends to get concentrated at ground level, which means there is less attenuation with distance.
    Therefore a single measurement is not enough to identify the source of residential annoyance, one needs monitoring for an extended period, under ever changing meteorological conditions.

  62. michel says:
    February 1, 2011 at 4:00 am
    Try working out how many windmills you would need if you not only supply current maximum consumption (~60GW for the UK in a cool winter) but also all your transportation also uses electric power (1US gallon of gas = 34kW). My back of the envelope calculation for the UK is that you would never be more than a mile from a large windmill (3MW) anywhere on the the land surface of the UK.
    It soon becomes evident that ‘renewables’ and electric cars are going nowhere together.

  63. My first northern winter in 35 years and it is probably the worst one in 35 years. I’ve always been lucky that way.
    On the other hand for the next 3 days it’s almost as cold in Austin, TX as it is here in western New York. The front hit back in Texas too and brought 60mph winds with it.
    Good thing I drove the 1500 miles last week instead of this week.

  64. E.M.Smith says:
    February 1, 2011 at 2:16 am
    RE: SI and Imperial Units and American versions of both …
    And now for a little “Canadiana”: The official metric book put out by the Canadian Government when we got metricized (soft c and soft z) was that “metre” was a unit of length and a “meter” is something you used to measure flow like a gas “meter” or a water “meter” or electrical “meter”.
    So we work in all units as well since we are officially “metric” but we still make 4×8 sheets of plywood and 2×4’s for the American market. And our football fields are still 110 yards long (I know yours are 100 yards). I suppose a hundred years ago we must have made a metric conversion and made our 100 metre long fields into 110 yards. But I still love Firkins and Hogsheads. 😉
    And I love it when I work on an “American” car and I have to use my metric socket set …

  65. Re: S.I. vs “English” units:
    I still remember being amused when living in Spain in the 70’s that oil was sold in quart containers (with “.946 L” on the container, and car tire sizes were mixed – both metric and inches (i.e. 145R70/10 for a 145 mm wide tire for my 10″ Mini wheel…)

  66. hotrod ( Larry L ) says:
    February 1, 2011 at 8:46 am
    Here locally many of the school districts closed down for the day because it was going to be too cold to let the little kiddies out in the weather. In the 1960′s we had low temps well into the -20′s and they never closed the schools for cold and many of us walked over a mile to school every day.
    Our society is getting so risk averse it is getting silly.
    ======================================
    I keep wondering if we don’t spend so much time sequestered away from the raw elements these days that we have lost the ability to use our own senses and logic to figure out things for ourselves.
    I , too, remember a mid-60s blizzard that my sister and I had to walk home from school in. I was in 6th grade. My sister was in 3rd grade. The wind was so strong and cold, we had to walk backwards and stop behind every house to stand it. I guess it took us 20-30 minutes to walk about a block. I always wondered why my stay-at-home mom didn’t come to pick us up from school that day!
    If I remember correctly, that snow lasted 6 weeks. It was probably between 6 and 12 inches. Oklahoma doesn’t usually get monster snowstorms. Some winters, we get no snow at all. It gets plenty cold and all, but it doesn’t always snow. I talked to my brother last night. He said he does not remember ever having experienced the kind of snowstorm he got this week. (He was only 4 when my sister and I walked home in the blizzard.) He said he spent all day shoveling out around his car. Their street was impassable, though!

  67. Well I left North Central Kansas at 2pm local time on the 1st of February, after the most of the snow was on the ground in the direct path to Phoenix AZ. Temperature was 6.2 degrees F, with about 1/2″ of snow with skiff of ice underneath, wind about 30/40mph gusts, viability about 1/4 to 1/2 mile, by the time I got to Oklahoma City the temperature had gone to 11.2 degrees on the dash thermometer, they had 4″ to 6″ of snow on the ground the Interstate had a small amount of hard packed snow in the fast (left) lane, slow (right) lane clear most of the way.
    Headed west on I40 to Amarillo Texas, wind speed and visibility about the same all the way to Tucomcari, (visibility 1/4 to 1/2 mile at best) temperatures slowly dropped to -4.3 degrees by 1am local time, coming into New Mexico, where the wind increased and visibility dropped to 200 yards at best, slow going at around 35 to 50 mph, until more fresh falling snow brought white out conditions at Clevies Corners (just East of Albuquerque) -6.4 degrees F, where I stopped for 3 hours till the snow stopped and wind died down.
    Got back on the road @4am local time and drove on into Flagstaff, local time ~11am on the 2nd temps around 8 (around the meteor crater ) to 11 degrees, snow on the road cleared just west of Santa Rosa @ the ~continental divide, down I17 into Mesa Az. by 1am local time temps 48 degrees F, roads clear and dry, 2′ snow drifts and 7 or 8 dead Elk still on the road shoulders. 1390 miles ~22 hours of almost non stop fun.
    If you look at the national maps on my site for today the 2nd, and shift back and forth between, the precipitation map and the snow forecast map you will see the past three cycles had about the same pattern of total precipitation, but due to the past three cycles occurring in active solar cycles, and this solar cycle is slower, the freeze line runs about 200/300 miles South and East of the past cycles. (Which it has been doing consistently for about one & 1/2 years now.;<)
    http://www.aerology.com/national.aspx
    So as far as "unprecedented" the only change is the solar cycle weakness.
    I still do not see a CAGW signal that stands alone.

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